New observations of an oddball planetary system 150 light-years from Earth may force astronomers to rethink the textbook definition of a planet and the accepted idea about how such a body forms. The observations suggest that either some planets are superheavy or that planets can form from disks of gas and dust that encircle not just a single star but two starlike objects.
Two years ago, when astronomers at the Geneva Observatory in Sauverny, Switzerland, reported their findings on the sunlike star HD 202206, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The team announced that a body at least 17.4 times as heavy as Jupiter orbits the star. The unseen body resides at an average distance from the star of 0.82 times the Earth-sun distance.
The same team, led by Alexandre Correia of the University of Aveiro in Portugal, has now found evidence for a second unseen body orbiting HD 202206. This object is at least 2.4 times as heavy as Jupiter and resides at an average distance from the star of 2.55 times the Earth-sun distance, the researchers report (http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/ astro-ph/0411512).
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A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.
The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.
The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
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